5-Star Rated Orthodontist Serving the Southern Tier
Below are the most common questions we receive from parents and teens regarding braces and orthodontic treatment.
Types of Treatment
Moving Teeth (Mechanics)
Wisdom Teeth (Third Molars)
Temporomandibular Disorders (TMJ)
Do you charge for an initial visit and consultation for braces?
Normally, we charge $450 for your initial visit. However, for a limited time, you can download your $450 Muench Smile Assessment Savings Certificate. Bring it with you and your entire first visit is FREE, GUARANTEED. Your first visit includes: your initial exam, digital 3-D X-rays, your comprehensive consultation, and more.
At what age do you start seeing patients?
Dr. Muench, having 25+ years experience, agrees with the American Association of Orthodontists in recommending that the absolute best time for a child’s first orthodontic evaluation is age 7.
Why is age 7 the best time for my child’s first orthodontic evaluation?
By the time your child has reached age 7, enough growth has occurred so that Dr. Muench can perform a thorough assessment. At this early age, it is important to know if your child has any of the following: missing teeth; extra teeth; impacted teeth; finger habits like thumb sucking that can disrupt the bite; growth problems like underbite or overbite; airway problems like sleep apnea due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids; crossbites due to a narrow or constricted palate. For these types of problems, early detection, followed by early intervention, makes future treatment less invasive and easier for your child, not to mention, less costly and time consuming. In our Vestal, NY orthodontic office, about 10% of middle school-aged children have serious problems requiring early treatment. The other 90% can safely wait until their teen years. If braces are not needed, Dr. Muench will invite you back for periodic “observation” visits, which will allow him to recommend the absolute best time to start the treatment for braces. These “observation” visits are FREE of charge.
How long will the first visit take?
At Muench Orthodontics, we reserve a minimum of 60 minutes of uninterrupted time so we can get to know you, learn all about your concerns and expectations, and answer all of your questions. Our mission is to serve others. When you leave, if you don’t feel Muench Orthodontics is the absolute, hands-down, best place for you or your child to receive orthodontic care, then we failed in some way, and we want you to tell us about it.
What should you expect?
Upon your arrival at Muench Orthodontics, please notify our receptionist. We can’t wait to welcome you to our orthodontic office in Vestal, NY. With your permission, we will make photos of your teeth and smile, and obtain a 3-D X-ray. This is ALL 100% FREE when you download and bring your $450 Muench Smile Assessment Savings Certificate! Dr. Muench will then conduct a thorough clinical orthodontic examination and explain all aspects of treatment himself.
What questions will be answered?
- What sort of problem is present, if any?
- When is the proper time to begin treatment?
- What type of treatment is indicated?
- How long will treatment take?
- How much will braces cost?
Can you start treatment the same day?
Absolutely! If Dr. Muench determines that now is the best time to begin orthodontic treatment, you can start treatment the same day. Otherwise, an appointment to begin treatment can be scheduled, if you prefer.
How much do braces cost?
It’s a difficult question to answer, but I will do my best. The cost of braces depends upon the severity of the problem, which can only be known after an in-person assessment. That is why we offer a 100% FREE initial consultation. Simply download and bring your $450 Muench Smile Assessment Savings Certificate to your appointment. That said, the simplest orthodontic problems may be corrected with just a retainer, costing a few hundred dollars, but the more challenging problems, those involving full braces, can range as high as 7 or 8 thousand dollars, again, depending on the specific issues needing to be corrected. If you call an orthodontist’s office and ask “how much do braces cost,” and the receptionist seems doggy, it’s simply because it’s an impossible question to answer over the phone.
When you come for your Muench assessment, you will know exactly how much treatment costs before you leave, and you will know all of the payment options available to you. We know paychecks are not elastic; they just don’t keep stretching indefinitely. That is why we have different payment plans for braces to suit your budget. Tell us what you need, and we will work hard to make the smile of your dreams affordable.
We accept assignment of benefits for most insurance plans. By doing this, your out-of-pocket expense is substantially lower. If we do not accept assignment of benefits from your plan, we will be happy to file claims so that you can be reimbursed directly. Should there be any change in your policy affecting payment of your insurance benefit, please contact our office immediately so adjustments may be made to your contract.
What does treatment for braces include?
Your investment includes:
- Orthodontic records, which include 3-D x-rays and photos, along with a personalized analysis to determine your unique treatment needs and objectives.
- All appliances (aligners, braces), office visits, and most procedures performed in the office. Appliances are durable and should last through the entire treatment period if the patient follows instructions. If appliances require replacement due to loss, breakage, misuse or failure to eliminate foods that cause damage, we reserve the right to charge an additional replacement fee.
- Two sets of retainers.
Do you take patients transferring from out of town?
Yes we do. We handle a patient transferring into our orthodontic office from another city just like a new patient. We gather complete diagnostic records to show the current status of your treatments and propose treatment to complete the work that has been started. Unlike most orthodontic practices, we do not ask for a large down payment, but merely assess a monthly fee to complete the treatment in progress.
What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?
An orthodontist is a dentist that has gone on to complete an additional 2 to 3 years of full-time training in orthodontics resulting in a nationally accepted specialty certification.
Can I make all my appointments in the afternoon after school and late in the day?
Our mission is to serve you. At Muench Orthodontics, you will never have to miss work or school, GUARANTEED.
Do you see patients for emergencies?
Yes, our contact information for an emergency is posted on the website, as well as the phone answering machine.
Can we make payments for braces?
Yes. Whether or not you have insurance or a dental plan, we will structure a convenient way for you to pay for necessary services over a period of time that fits within your budget.
How do you handle insurance?
After verification of coverage, we will agree to bill and collect from your insurance carrier. However, we ask patients to understand that if coverage ceases or changes, the patient is still responsible for the agreed upon fee.
Do you accept credit cards?
Yes, we accept MasterCard, Visa and Discover.
Do you have direct debit?
Yes, we have arrangements for direct debit, charge card posting, as well as payments over the internet.
Do you charge interest?
No, we do not charge interest.
Do you give family discounts?
Yes, we have special programs for multiple patients from the same family.
Types of Treatment For Braces
What is Phase 1 (Early) Treatment?
Phase 1 treatment is delivered early and before all permanent teeth have erupted. The purpose of this early care is to start correcting serious problems that may be more difficult, more costly, lengthier, or impossible to correct later. Phase 1 treatment does not eliminate the need for future orthodontic treatment during adolescence. Examples of phase 1 treatment include correcting individual tooth or jaw crossbites, and severe underbites or overbites where function, esthetics or psycho-social concerns are identified. The average Phase 1 treatment lasts 6 to 12 months.
What is Phase 2 (Comprehensive) Treatment?
Phase 2 treatment involves comprehensive full orthodontic treatment of all the adult teeth. In order to provide the shortest treatment possible, choosing the absolute best time to begin Phase 2 is critical. Ideally, Phase 2 treatment begins once the 12 year molars have been fully erupted. The average Phase 2 treatment lasts between 8 and 10 months.
How do I know if 2-Phase Treatment is necessary?
Early detection is paramount. A child should have their first orthodontic evaluation at age 7. This is the time when Dr. Muench can tell if there is a serious enough problem requiring Phase 1 early treatment. About 10% of children need Phase 1. The other 90% can be safely monitored through periodic observation appointments until all the permanent teeth have erupted.
Does early treatment ensure a better result?
Absolutely! Experience and research show that, when necessary, early treatment achieves meaningful goals as it can correct serious problems that may be more difficult, more costly, lengthier, or impossible to correct later. Also, denying a child Phase 1 early treatment, when it is clearly beneficial, can lead to compromised results and more complicated treatments, which could include permanent tooth extractions or jaw surgery.
Moving of teeth (Mechanics)
How long do braces take?
How do braces work?
Quite simply, crooked teeth are gradually moved into their desired positions by taking shaped wires and attaching them to brackets on the teeth.
Do you use recycled braces?
Absolutely NOT! Quite the opposite, actually. As the only exclusive provider of Damon® Braces in the Southern Tier, all brackets (braces), and all wires used to straighten your teeth, are completely 100% custom manufactured.
Do retainers need to be worn after braces?
Yes. We offer both non-removable (bonded) and removable retainers. When it’s time for your braces to come off, we will discuss which type(s) of retainers are best for you. Remember, you worked hard to get that new spectacular smile. Now we have to work hard to keep it that way.
Why do teeth get crooked after wearing braces or aligners?
Teeth move throughout life whether you have worn braces or not. It is part of the natural aging process. This is why retainer wear is recommended indefinitely to maintain your orthodontic result over your lifetime.
How about retainers glued to the backs of teeth?
As mentioned above, you can choose to have non-removable bonded retainers. We don’t say “permanent,” since they can removed at any time, just not by you, but by your orthodontist. They are a thin wire attached (bonded) to the back of either the upper or lower teeth to keep them in place. They require special hygiene procedures and regular check-ups to your family dentist.
Wisdom teeth (Third Molars)
Do wisdom teeth cause teeth to get crooked?
Yes and No. The truth is, no one really knows for sure. The research is not clear on this question. However, the reason to have wisdom teeth removed should be based on other factors, which can be explained by your orthodontist or an oral surgeon. Regardless, modern-day orthodontists recommend each patient use some type of retainer indefinitely, or for as long as you want your teeth to stay straight.
When is a good time to have wisdom teeth removed?
The best time according to oral surgeons is when approximately 2/3 or so of their roots have formed. Typically, this would be some time around age 16 or 18.
Temporomandibular Disorders (TMJ)
Can braces or orthodontic treatment treat or cause TMJ problems?
The scientific literature has documented that there is not a direct link between orthodontic treatment, occlusion (bite), or the TMJ. Problems with TMJ can be present or absent in the presence of all types of good and bad bites.
What are the health benefits of wearing braces?
Orthodontics helps to improve the comfort of the bite, make it easier to brush and floss your teeth for good dental health, and many times helps to balance the facial muscles. The positive self-esteem benefits are immeasurable.
Why is mouth breathing potentially harmful for my child?
Mouth breathing can be an indication of enlarged adenoids or tonsils, and is frequently associated with structural and anatomical abnormalities of the teeth and jaws. It could also be a sign your child has a serious medical condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA is a frequent underlying cause of several common childhood conditions such as ADD/ADHD, anger, depression, anti-social behavior, acting out, obesity, and poor school performance. For decades, orthodontists have known mouth breathing can cause the jaws to grow abnormally, resulting in a serious type of orthodontic problem known as “anterior open bite.” This happens when a child bites down, but their front teeth do not touch or overlap.
How does a tongue thrust or low tongue posture affect braces?
The effects are similar to enlarged adenoids. Plus, the pressure on front teeth from the tongue thrusting can aggravate protrusion and spacing.
At what age should a child first visit the orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic screening by age 7. This allows Dr. Muench to determine if orthodontic treatment will be required and the best time for the patient to be treated. Many of the dentists in our community have been trained to identify orthodontic problems early, but many delay making a referral to the orthodontist until it is too late. Do not wait for your dentist to say something. You do not need a referral. Be proactive. If your child is age 7 or older, and has not had their first orthodontic evaluation, do it NOW.
Why are children being evaluated at such an early age?
Early diagnosis and treatment can guide erupting teeth into a more favorable position, preserve space for permanent teeth, and reduce the likelihood of fracturing protruded front teeth.
If early treatment is indicated, Dr. Muench can guide the growth of the jaw and incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb sucking habits and their side effects, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment, after all the permanent teeth erupt.
Does early treatment benefit all children?
Early treatment with braces does not necessarily benefit all children. Certain types of orthodontic problems can be more easily and efficiently corrected in the teen years when all the permanent teeth have erupted. For example, certain jaw growth problems, such as severe underbites, should not be addressed until growth is more advanced or completed. Dr. Muench will develop a plan for treatment based on your child’s individual needs. If he sees your child does not need early treatment, we will invite you to participate in our orthodontic supervisory program.
What is the Orthodontic Supervisory Program?
The orthodontic supervisory program is for patients who are not ready for treatment and you who have agreed to be seen for periodic “observation” visits. This program enables Dr. Muench to monitor the eruptive patterns of the permanent teeth. Sometimes, poor eruption patterns of permanent teeth may be eliminated with early removal of baby teeth, thereby shortening the waiting period leading up to braces. We will notify your general dentist of any recommendations made during your “observation” visits. We normally see patients every 4 to 6 months. There is no fee for this program and it helps Dr. Muench determine the optimum time to begin treatment and achieve the best possible result for your child.
In addition to a beautiful new smile, what are some other benefits of orthodontic treatment?
A beautiful smile makes you feel good. And, in addition to greater self-confidence, a spectacular smile can improve your chances for success in life, such as your career, making friends, even attracting a mate. Braces also correct bad bites, and a proper bite is more comfortable, healthier, and leads to better nutrition. Straight teeth are easier to clean and floss. A proper bite also reduces wear and tear on teeth, thereby increasing the longevity of your natural teeth over your lifetime.
If a child has treatment early, will this prevent the need for braces as a teenager?
Early treatment can begin the correction of significant problems, prevent more severe problems from developing, and simplify future treatment. Because all of the permanent teeth have not yet erupted when early treatment is performed, their final alignment may not have been corrected. Typically, a shortened comprehensive phase of treatment (Phase 2 full braces) in the teen years, after all the permanent teeth have erupted, completes the correction. However, in some circumstances, further orthodontic treatment may not be needed.
Do we still need to see our family dentist during orthodontic treatment?
Patients with braces and other orthodontic appliances require more effort to keep their teeth clean and their gums healthy. Because we want to insure the highest level of dental health, we recommend you continue to see your family dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings at least every 6 months during treatment. More frequent cleanings may be a good idea if you or your child becomes at risk for white spots, decalcification, or tooth decay.
What is the most common ages for orthodontic treatment?
The most common time for orthodontic treatment to begin is between 11 and 15. Most children have a full set of adult teeth by age 12, making this the ideal time to correct crooked teeth, close gaps, fix overbites/underbites, etc. Keep in mind, at this age, whatever orthodontic problems your child has, they will not get better or correct themselves, so this is when most parents decide to seek orthodontic treatment.
This is a good time for orthodontic treatment because any possible negative associations to braces are not a big deal. Most children in this age range accept orthodontic treatment very well since they have friends in braces too.
Besides the benefits of fitting in with their friends, children at this age have high metabolisms, which can help shorten overall treatment time and reduce the discomfort of orthodontic treatment.
Do you treat adults?
Yes! In fact, 50% of the patients in our Vestal, NY orthodontic office is are adult. No one is too old for orthodontic treatment.
Adults seek braces for many of the same reasons as children. Some adults had orthodontic problems as children, but were unable to correct them until now. Others, who had braces as children, may need further treatment as adults due to relapse or limitations in initial treatment.
Benefits of Treatment
Adults can benefit from braces and orthodontic treatment in many ways. These include:
- Align the teeth to create a more aesthetic and beautiful smile and create a more youthful appearance
- Correct relapse after previous orthodontic treatment due to lack of long-term retainer wear
- Improve the ability to brush and floss, especially for crowded or overlapping lower front teeth
- Create a better or more comfortable bite and improved ability to chew comfortably
- Address missing teeth
- Close spaces between teeth
- Reduce excessive wear on the teeth due to grinding or poor bite
- Jaw surgery to correct large discrepancies between the upper and lower jaws
Appearance of Braces
Many adults are concerned with the appearance of braces. Often, Invisalign® (a clear alternative to braces) can be used to treat adults. This technology involves clear removable aligners, fabricated through advanced 3D imaging, to align the teeth. For more severe problems, we have the option of clear ceramic braces instead of metal braces.
Braces are no more uncomfortable for adults than children. Adults undergoing orthodontic treatment report the same level of comfort as children (although adults are more willing to tell us about the soreness).
Typically, the teeth are most uncomfortable 12-24 hours after an orthodontic adjustment and will disappear within 3 to 5 days. Modern braces are smaller and more comfortable to wear. New methods and techniques, like Damon Braces put less pressure on the teeth, which causes less discomfort, while at the same time moving teeth more efficiently. Technology has also decreased treatment time and the number of appointments, a great convenience for busy adults. Adult treatment times range between 15 and 18 months.
The fee for adult braces is determined the same way as child or adolescent treatment. It is based on the severity of the problem, the complexity of the correction, the appliances used and the length of time to correct.
Dr. Muench has treated individuals in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. It is never too late for adult braces and to gain the smile you have always wanted. You deserve to look and feel your best at every age!